Confessions and the Criminal Justice Act 2003

Michael Stockdale, Joanne Clough

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The admissibility of hearsay evidence in criminal proceedings in England and Wales is now governed by provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, a result of Law Commission reform proposals. The Law Commission’s Report left several issues concerning the admissibility of confessions in the context of its proposed hearsay regime unclear, some of which have not yet been clarified by the post-2003 Act jurisprudence. In particular, whilst the authorities have established that confessions made by third parties may be admissible in exceptional circumstances, the courts have not yet engaged with s. 128(2) of the 2003 Act which limits the extent to which confessions made by defendants may be admissible under the 2003 Act’s provisions. Moreover, whilst the Court of Appeal has recognised both that certain confessions may exist outside the 2003 Act’s statutory framework and that the admissibility of such a confession for the prosecution when made by a defendant is governed by s. 76 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, other issues concerning the admissibility of such confessions have not yet been resolved
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-254
JournalThe Journal of Criminal Law
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


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